Bradley Cemetery

Collin Co. Cemeteries of TX

Submitted by Elaine Nall Bay

Texas Historical Commission

Edward Bradley, his wife Nancy, and their family came to this area from Kentucky in the 1840s as members of the Peters Colony.  They built a log home on a branch of Wilson's Creek in the southwest part of present McKinney.  A hillside near the Bradley home became the site of a family graveyard.
The original cemetery covered about an acre of land.  Though begun as a family cemetery, other members of the small community were eventually interred here.  Eleven original headstones remain in the cemetery.  There are believed to be a number of unmarked graves, as well as, south of this plot, a slave cemetery was located in a wooded area.  The graves were marked with bois d'arc wood markers.
The oldest documented grave is that of Edward Bradley (1787-1855), Nancy Bradley (died 1880), and their son and daughter-in-law, Thomas T. (died 1880) and Sarah J. (died 1876) Bradley are also buried here.  Others interred in the cemetery include Dr. David McClay (died 1859), six-month old William B. Pulliam (died 1863), and Susan K. Parrish and her child, who died within months of each other in 1861.
The historic Bradley Cemetery serves as a reminder to Collin County residents of their area's heritage.

Information contributed by Jay Crum, July 2008
After the Civil War, there was an epidemic in McKinney. The people in the area had either lost all of their money or possessed Confederate currency. Since they had no money to purchase a burial plot and had no place of their own to bury their loved ones, E.W. Kirkpatrick, who owned the land at that time, allowed families to bury their loved ones in his pasture. People would put 4 posts at the corner of graves and encircle the graves with wire in order to keep the cattle away from the graves. Some of these posts are still on the hill today.
During the 1910ís, it was thought that the railroad would come through the area of the cemetery. Family members, in order to preserve their family burials, excavated the graves of their family and moved them to other cemeteries. There are sunken places in the cemetery, indicating where these graves previously existed.
About 20 years ago when the city of McKinney planned to build the Elm road, Margaret Houston, descendent of Ed Bradley who is buried in the cemetery, obtained an agreement from the city of McKinney to not disturb the graves, to put a fence around the existing graves, and to name the cemetery "Bradley Cemetery". Ed Bradley was a surveyor and the Bradley Cemetery is located in the Ed Bradley Survey, McKinney, Collin County.
Elm street was originally a country lane that ran between the original cemetery on the north side of the road and the African-American cemetery on the south side of the road. Across Elm street from Bradley cemetery is a
grove of trees where the city of McKinney has put a metal marker to designate the Old Settlers Cemetery at Wilson Creek, the slave portion of the original cemetery, which was established in the 1850ís. In the 1950ís and 1960ís wooden tombstones stood in the slave portion of the cemetery but have since disappeared.